Note: when this was published in the local newspaper, the editor added to the title words to the effect of, "Go Hear God's Voice for Yourself." I felt this added to my article a sense of individualism I didn't intend. While we are capable and should believe to hear God's voice for ourselves, this should always outwork itself in the context of the wider Church community and the healthy boundaries this provides to our own subjective experiences.
Have you ever been in church and heard the
song leader say, “Let’s sing it from the top again!” Some people leap for joy –
some on the inside and some literally. Others though, feel like a part of them
has died, “Really? From the top? Again? This song? Again?” The reality is we’re
all wired to connect with God in different ways. When we turn worship into a
song rather than a song into worship, we reduce worship from being the totality
of one’s life lived before God. Not-with-standing that there is something
powerful about lyric and melody, it is essential that we make space for people
to connect with God in a variety of means.
Throughout Christian history there are nine
basic pathways through which people have connected with God. A vibrant
Christian spirituality celebrates these and will be naturalistic, traditional,
contemplative, celebratory, intellectual, ascetic, sensory, service orientated,
and justice orientated. Different pathways maybe more meaningful for one person
than they are for another and there is something beautiful about this. For some
it is the meaning, mood and melody found in a particular song that points them
towards the Divine. For others it is stillness and quiet contemplation or the
taste of bread and wine at communion. You may not even call yourself a
Christian but have perhaps ‘experienced-something-to-deep-for-words’ when
standing drenched in the glow of a sunset or when looking at a piece of art –
somehow it seems alive, somehow you feel alive. In this moment you’re sensing
God in your world. At the core of vibrant Christian spirituality is the
conviction that when we tune into God’s presence we discover God’s voice
speaking into our lives; a voice of love, of comfort, of beauty and of wonder.
At St Luke’s we encourage our community to
lean into the spiritual pathways most natural and most meaningful to them and
occasionally explore pathways that don’t come as naturally.
In our Sunday gatherings we try to mix things up. Sometimes we use set prayers,
other times interactive stations with reflection questions or art
instillations. These are designed to create an opportunity to reflect and to
point you towards God. Two out of three Sundays we sing together. In your
world, work out how you best tune into God, and listen for God’s voice.